In 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, damaging thousands and thousands of homes and forcing millions to leave everything behind. As the waters subsided and people returned to their ravaged houses, they became aware of a rather nasty problem.
While a few people took their food with them when they evacuated, many did not.
Those who had to leave their fridges behind eventually found out what happens when you leave full refrigerators behind in 90-degree weather.
And it wasn’t just supremely disgusting. The rotten food actually became toxic.
The slime in the refrigerators was capable of corroding metal and plastic, and the unfortunate people who opened their refrigerators said that the putrid smell lingered for days. Most people simply sealed them shut with duct tape and dumped them on the curb. A few brave souls tried cleaning them, but they didn’t have much success.
As a result, dead refrigerators started appearing all over the city.
Because of the messes inside, hazmat teams had to deal with the problem. Because there were so many of these rank appliances sitting around, cleanup took months.
People started getting creative when they realized that their fridges would be hanging around for a while longer.
Their zombification made them perfect for Halloween, for example. In 2005, the “Katrina refrigerator” was a popular costume choice.
But eventually, they were all collected and dumped at the Gentilly Landfill.
There were about 150,000 in total.
It’s not the ideal way to dispose of refrigerators, but they didn’t have many options.
By 2006, the last of the refrigerators had been collected and dumped. The recovery process was far from over at that point, but the removal of these zombie refrigerators was a sign of progress.